By Jennifer Ahlstrom | Posted - May 28th, 2019





Blood Cancer Patients at Greater Risk for Head and Neck Cancers

The study used data from the Veterans Affairs Corporate Data Warehouse on over 30 million veterans (89.3% men and 45.2% white) born between 1910 and 1969. For 207,322 patients with blood cancers, 1,353 of them were later diagnosed with head or neck cancer. 
“Hematologic malignant tumors are among the most prevalent cancers in the United States,” Daniel Clayburgh, MD, PhD, and colleagues wrote. “This large population of patients is unfortunately susceptible to future cancers. Studies of hematologic malignant tumors, such as chronic myelogenous leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma, have demonstrated long-term elevated risk [for] developing secondary neoplasms. In studies of patients who have undergone hematopoietic stem cell transplant ... there is also a significantly elevated risk [for] second cancers.”
Other cancers that could be associated with blood cancer patients included: 
  • Aerodigestive tract cancer (relative risk 16)
  • Oral cavity cancer (relative risk 1.7)
  • Oropharynx cancer (relative risk 1.7)
  • Larynx cancer (relative risk 1.3)
  • Sinonasal Cancer (relative risk 3)
  • Salivary gland cancer (relative risk 2.8)
  • Thyroid cancer (relative risk 2.1)


For these subsite cancers, patients had worse 2-year and 5-year overall survival compared to patients with no prior cancers. 

Jennifer Ahlstrom
About the Author

Jennifer Ahlstrom - Jenny A - Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of Myeloma Crowd by HealthTree and the HealthTree Foundation.


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